Court Allows Boss Law Challenge To Continue

On February 27, 2023, a federal appeals court revived a constitutional challenge to an anti-life, anti-religious liberty New York law known as the Boss Law.

In 2019, after the Democratic Party took control of the State Senate, the New York State Legislature passed a series of disastrous laws. From abortion expansion (the Reproductive Health Act) to mandated insurance coverage of abortion pills (the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act) to “transgender” restroom access (the Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act, also known as GENDA or the Bathroom Law) to a ban on mental health professionals helping minors to resolve unwanted same-sex attraction (the Counselor Coercion Law), the onslaught was relentless. Of course, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo was only too happy to sign these bills into law.

Another anti-life law passed in 2019 was the Boss Law. The Boss Law made it illegal for employers to make employment decisions based on “reproductive health decision making.” The law does not exempt faith-based organizations; therefore, under the Boss Law, a Christian charity can be sued for discrimination if it disciplines an employee for paying for, facilitating, or undergoing an abortion. Evergreen Association, an organization that operates pro-life pregnancy centers in New York City, filed a lawsuit in January 2020 claiming that the Boss Law is unconstitutional. In March 2021, a federal judge dismissed the case. Evergreen, through its attorneys at the Thomas More Society, appealed.

According to, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit “cast a skeptical eye” on the Boss Law, directing the lower court “to consider whether it could be voided as unconstitutional in certain circumstances.” As WORLD explains, the court stated that the First Amendment protects individuals’ rights to associate with others to engage in free speech, and that the First Amendment also protects the freedom not to associate with others. Also, the court “acknowledged that Evergreen’s beliefs define the organization, and that forcing it to employ individuals who approve of abortion would undermine its mission.” Therefore, the Court of Appeals returned the case to the trial court. According to Tim Belz of the Thomas More Society, the state “must now prove that the interest served by the law, unrelated to the suppression of ideas, is compelling and justifies limitations on certain private rights.”

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms thanks the Thomas More Society for their good work in this case. We agree that the Boss Law is unconstitutional; in fact, we raised constitutional concerns about it before it passed. It is hoped that further developments in this case will uphold Christian charities’ freedom to make employment decisions that uphold their Christian beliefs and preserve their Christian identities.